Rachel Barton Pine / Jory Vinikour

J.S. Bach: The Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord

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Following her exceptional recording, Testament: The Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, Rachel Barton Pine continues her exploration of Johann Sebastian Bach's chamber works in The Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord, a 2018 release on Cedille. Joined by her friend and colleague, harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, Pine offers historically informed performances that have a richness and expressiveness similar to a modern interpretation. Pine's rich and luminous tone is a welcome change from the typically clinical sound sometimes heard in early music performances, and the spontaneity and ease with which Pine and Vinikour play these sonatas gives them a conversational feeling that is quite enjoyable. Pine plays a 1770 violin with a modern replica of an 18th century bow, so the instrument produces a variety of timbres, from a bright flautando quality to a nearly reed-like tone, as well as the vibrant but seldom gritty string sonorities. Vinikour's accompaniment gives Pine pride of place and seems a bit understated, though the harpsichord part is always clear and the trio sonata textures are reasonably well-balanced in the 24-bit digital recording. Also included with the sonatas is the variant movement, Cantabile, BWV 1019a, which is appended to the Sonata in G major, BWV 1019. Cedille's reproduction is transparent and close-up, so the listener gets a wonderful front-row experience. Highly recommended.

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